The mayor of Barcelona announced three new methods for battling the noxious effects of illegal rental of tourist accommodations, particularly on Barcelona's market.
This first targets owners of tourism apartments that are rented illegally and have already been sanctioned, with fines averaging 15,000 euros. The figure is currently close to 300. If their owners accept the conversion of their apartment into social housing they could have up to 80% of this sum canceled for three years. After this three-year period, the owners will have the possibility of recuperating the remaining 20%. This measure has initially been implemented in the Ciutat Vella neighborhood, with a goal to expand throughout the city.
The city also asked private rental platforms, such as Airbnb, to make it easier to identify owners and record their registration number from the Tourism Register. If this information is not provided within 15 days of the publication of the announcement, the city hall will apply sanctions for each apartment rented illegally, effective September 1.
Finally, Barcelona's authorities have launched a communication campaign in Ciutat Vella neighborhood to encourage tourists to report apartments that are rented illegally and have them collaborate with the authorities.
These three new measures were announced a few weeks after Catalonia's adoption of strict regulations for private rental websites such as Airbnb, and the implementation of a freeze on new hotel operating permits. Since the election of its new mayor, Ada Colau, Barcelona has been trying to redefine its tourism strategy and is taking on mass tourism.
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